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How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant

  • Gans, Joshua S.


    (University of Melbourne)

  • Leigh, Andrew


    (Australian National University)

We employ several different approaches to estimate the political position of Australian media outlets, relative to federal parliamentarians. First, we use parliamentary mentions to code over 100 public intellectuals on a left-right scale. We then estimate slant by using the number of mentions that each public intellectual receives in each media outlet. Second, we have independent raters separately code front-page election stories and headlines. Third, we tabulate the number of electoral endorsements that newspapers give to each side of politics in federal elections. Overall, we find that the Australian media are quite centrist, with very few outlets being statistically distinguishable from the middle of Australian politics. It is possible that this is due to the lack of competition in the Australian media market. To the extent that we can separate content slant from editorial slant, we find some evidence that editors are more partisan than journalists.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6156.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published online in: Economic Record, [Early View]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6156
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  1. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do ADS Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227, 02.
  2. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2009. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi's Italy," NBER Working Papers 14762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ho, Daniel E. & Quinn, Kevin M., 2008. "Measuring Explicit Political Positions of Media," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 353-377, December.
  4. Riccardo Puglisi, 2006. "Being The New York Times: Thepolitical Behaviour Of A Newspaper," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 20, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel A., 2013. "Media and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 79-92.
  6. Larcinese, Valentino & Puglisi, Riccardo & Snyder Jr., James M., 2011. "Partisan bias in economic news: Evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1178-1189, October.
  7. Marco GAMBARO & Riccardo PUGLISI, 2009. "What do ads buy? Daily coverage of listed companies on the Italian press," Departmental Working Papers 2009-36, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  8. Jeffrey Milyo & Tim Groseclose, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," Working Papers 0501, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 25 Aug 2005.
  9. Alex Millmow, 2005. "Australian economics in the twentieth century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 1011-1026, November.
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